Feb 11, 2013 7:00am EST
breaking news. a stunning announcement just coming in from the vatican. pope benedict xvi is resigning. we're live with what's behind his decision and how quickly the next pope will be elected, "today," monday, february 11th, 2013. >> announcer: from nbc news, this is "today" with matt lauer and savannah guthrie live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza. >> good morning. welcome to "today" on a monday morning. i'm matt lauer. >> and i'm savannah guthrie. can't say that this is unprecedented for a pope to just step down, but you have to go back 1600 years to find another example of it. pope benedict xvi announcing he is stepping down as leader of the catholic church. huge news for the world's 1 billion catholics. >> and noncatholics as well. the 85-year-old pope made the announcement moments ago, saying his strength is no longer adequate to carry on his duties. in a moment we'll talk about the decision with timothy cardinal dolan, the highest ranking catholic here in the united states. claudeio is in rome. this morning, would you say this is total surprise? >> reporter: matt
Feb 11, 2013 7:00am PST
here. they asked us what is going on. nobody really got the news. when they told them pope benedict xvi was redesignisignry didn't know. actually, he can, but obviously, no pope has done that for 700 years. so no wonder people are aware of that. for now on that may change the course of the catholic church in the future as well as pope benedict xvi is setting an example. if you don't have the strength to carry on let someone younger and more strength to carry on the mission. >> it certainly is a monument ool announcement. claudio, thank you very much. >>> this morning we spoke with greg burke the senior communication adviser to the holy see in rome. we began by asking him how much of a surprise this was? >> it is a surprise. i people think had fair warning. it was a few years ago in a book called "light of the world," a long interview with a german journalist. the journalist asked the pope if he would resign. and he said something interesting. in the midst of a candle and all that stuff. he said now is not the time. it's not the time to run when you're in great risk and emergency period.
Feb 11, 2013 9:00am EST
guest. but we got surprising news this morning, pope benedict resigning. you have some more information on that, natalie. >> that's right. pope benedict xvi made the stunning announcement this morning he will be stepping down. rome bureau chief claudio lavagne joins us now with more. good morning, claudio. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. even the elements seem to be reacting to his shocking news. there's a storm raging over vatican city just behind me now. it took everybody by surprise, this announcement this morning. it even took by surprise his closest aides, his spokesperson, lombardi, saying in a press conference that he didn't even know about it, and if he didn't know about it, then who would? well, maybe just the closest cardinals he confessed it to. the cardinals, more than 120 now. certainly he made his announcement as if it was a low-key decision. he did that during a fairly small cardinals gathering here in the vatican and he just said, look, i just don't have the strength anymore to carry on my duties. you need both body and mind to carry on the very important duties of t